A Musical Prelude to the Celebration of Easter at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church

A Musical Prelude to the Celebration of Easter:
A Series of Free Public Concerts to be Staged At
Saint Mary’s Catholic Church in the Vieux Carre

NEW ORLEANS, LA—On March 6, 2014, renowned tenor and opera performing artist Fernando del Valle and acclaimed organ recitalist Jarrett Follette will kick off a series of concerts at an important architectural and historic landmark, St. Mary’s Catholic Church in the French Quarter.
The series—A Musical Prelude to the Celebration of Easter—will feature music ranging from classical favorites of the great gothic and baroque cathedrals of the world to New Orleans jazz, spirituals, and gospel and will take place on Thursdays at 6 p. m. Saint Mary’s Catholic Church, part of the old Ursuline Convent Complex, is located at 1116 Chartres Street.

Subsequent concerts in the series will feature more of the
talented performance artists of New Orleans.

—The March 13 Concert will star popular New Orleans vocalists Phillip Manuel, whose voice is big enough to fill a cathedral or capture the crowds at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and Lucy Burnett, noted especially for her dramatic range, both of whom have
frequently sung in gospel chorales as well as jazz jams and solo gigs.
—The March 20 Concert will star Grammy and Billboard Award-winning Jazz trumpeter and bandleader Irvin Mayfield, whose Jazz Playhouse at the Royal Sonesta has been described as the best jazz club in New Orleans and who is founder and artistic director of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and New Orleans Jazz Institute, as well as Professor of Music at the University of New Orleans. At the University of New Orleans he initiated a program of musical composition, creating
new music based on the work of famous authors. Most recently, he composed a program of new music based on the work of Louisiana
literary master Ernest J. Gaines.
—The March 27 Concert will star Soprano Amy Pfrimmer, head of the Voice Faculty at Tulane University, who has performed across the United States, Germany, France, Canada, and England, including appearances with the London Symphony Orchestra, Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, and Baltimore Choral Arts Society, in collaboration with pianist and composer Dave Brubeck. Ms. Pfrimmer will appear with pianist Dreux Montegut, who has been Director of Music since 1966 at the Cathedral – Basilica of St. Louis King of France, where he conducts the Cathedral Choir and Concert Choir. Under his direction, the Cathedral Concert Choir has performed an excitingly diverse array of music ranging from Mozart’s Mass in C Minor to Duke Ellington’s Sacred Music.
—The April 3 Concert will star Lisa McDonald and Jacques Weaver in flute and harp performances. Ms. McDonald, who is a talented architect with McDonald Architects and staff architect at Tulane Univerisity Health Services Campus, plays flute with the New Orleans
Concert Band. Jacques Weaver, who has taught music in Plaquemines
Parish for many years is an accomplished pianist, organist, and harpist,
who plays organ and harp for Mass at St. Mary’s. A singer, too, he has
performed with the New Orleans Opera Chorus.
—The April 10 Concert will star Cynthia Cheri-Woolridge, who
leads a popular group of gospel and spirituals singers and musicians. Her degree in music is from Xavier University and Ms. Cheri-Woolridge, a soloist with the New Orleans Concert Band an the New Orleans Black
Chorale, has served as both choir director and organist for such churches as Peter Claver, Our Lady of Lourdes, and St. Jude.

The concerts are free and open to the general public and are sponsored by the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the Cathedral-Basiica of St. Louis King of France to benefit the new mission of the Archdiocese in downtown New Orleans, the Bishop Perry Center. Donations to support the Center will be accepted at the concerts. The Center, located at 1941 Dauphine, is under the direction of the Rev. William F. Maestri and has a multi-faceted mission of:
—Providing a spiritual ministry—daily mass at Noon Monday – Friday, ongoing spiritual counseling at the Center, boots on the street ministering to men, women, and children living on the street, and communicating with downtown residents to make them aware of services available at the Center.
—Meeting the material needs for food and clothing of the disadvantaged and assisting those in need of shelter find it.
—Providing a base for the delivery of free medical and psychological evaluation and treatment services, desperately needed in downtown New Orleans.
—Providing educational services, such as tutoring for G. E. D., teaching reading and writing, teaching computer skills, and mentoring men and women who have lost their jobs and are seeking employment.
—Cultural Outreach programs for the downtown neighborhoods, including heritage events, music events, literary events, visual arts events.

The program for the first concert will include some of the finest Baroque music written for the tenor voice and for the organ, as well as later spiritually oriented classical music.

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About DW

New Orleans resident, writer, activist.

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